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The Loves of Lauren Hutton

Lauren Hutton, from Lunch Bunny to Supermodel Actress Turned Talk Show Host
Nancy Wolfson
From the Print Edition:
Matt Dillon, Spring 96

(continued from page 3)

She and her present beau, Luca Babini, have a lot to say. He is the Lu, and Lauren the la, of Lula Productions, the 50-50 partnership they formed as part of the Turner deal. An Italian fashion photographer and filmmaker, the 41-year-old Babini is the director, set designer and post-production supervisor of "Lauren Hutton And..." "We met on a set about five years ago," he recalls. "I was coming out of a divorce, and she became like a sister to me. Then I fell in love with her. And I loved her feet, which say so much about a person.

"Lauren is incredibly popular because people feel that she's not a faraway star in another universe, but that she is accessible and down to earth. She has very clear opinions about things, and she supports them," Babini says of his constant companion, whom he first encountered as an image from afar. She is now encamped in an adjacent office.

The most conspicuous fixture in her office is a large, rectangular brass-framed mirror. Late one autumn day, Hutton is sitting on top of her small dressing table removing her makeup, her thick bare feet resting on the seat of a chair. A wide couch with big, fake leopard fur pillows faces a table piled with paper, books and pink telephone message slips. Hutton is getting set to leave for a job in the Bahamas, where she will model for a Florida department store, one of many still interested clients.

Hutton ponders a bigger picture. "As a model or actress, you're constantly being looked at by other people. After a while, addicted to admiration, I couldn't see out anymore. I could only see people seeing me," she says. Her challenge as a television talk show host is exactly the opposite. "This is me looking out at someone else. My aim is to show my guest in a way that makes them feel safe and comfortable and recognized, in the best sense."

Aside from being Hutton's first full-time job, her talk show has effected a breakthrough: "I feel like I'm molting all kinds of layers right now, like a crab," she says. "I can see myself light years. Most people don't do that at 52. And I'm extraordinarily grateful for it."

She uses the word "extraordinary" often. "My face is always changing because I am constantly feeding myself," she says, alluding to the perpetual flux of new forces in her life. Today, she has a 41-year-old boyfriend and a tête-à-tête TV show on the burning issues of the day. This is a new kind of adventure, far from the jungle where she used to smoke those funny little cigars. It's an adventure she's savoring.

"I've moved to a 41 ring size, " she says of the Dominican H. Upmanns she now smokes. "They burn slower."

Nancy Wolfson is a freelance writer who lives in New York City.

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